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A filing cabinet and 2.5 hours

Sleuth eats the best food story this year at the Angel

Published on December 19th 2008.


A filing cabinet and 2.5 hours

This is a totally true story in case you think Sleuth is up to his spoof tricks. Anyway Confidential goes for Christmas dinner at Robert Owen-Brown’s Angel pub.

We’re upstairs, having just had a lovely smoked haddock soup with a poached egg, when a rumour goes around about goings on in the car park.

A rumour about a filing cabinet and a bird.

Then the turkey appears. The staff struggle to get it through the doors of the upstairs function room, after all it is a monster weighing in at 35lbs.

Gordo gets all patriarchal and grabs the knives. He carves it. The flesh is perfect, moist and packed with flavour. There’s a lovely woody aroma to the beast as well.

Taking the turkey with the stuffing, roasties, Brussels, chestnuts and gravy, the meal turns out to be the best Christmas dinner any of us have had in a restaurant or pub. It’s better even than most people’s nostalgic recollections of the way mum used to do it. Jeez this team at the Angel can cook. There’s even partridge thrown in as well.

As Sleuth’s washing it all down with a beautifully floral Dunham Massey ale, Will, Rob’s co-chef, passes by.

“I take it,” says Sleuth, “that the rumour you cooked this in a filing cabinet in the car park was a lie?”

Will grins, “no, that’s exactly what we did.”

“I don’t believe you .”

“We did.”

“Don’t believe you.”

“We did.”

This could have gone on for a while so Will says,

“Do you want to see?”

Robert Owen-Brown, Will, Sleuth, Gordo, Howard Sharrock (chairman), Yousaf (top sales gun) troop out of the pub and round to the car park. There’s also Michael Spencer Jones, the photographer who’s worked with Oasis, Suede, you name it, present. Long story but he ends up snatching Sleuth’s camera and taking some shots which make Rob and Will look like characters from Mad Max.

In the car park there’s a filing cabinet on fire. Three drawers, the top one open like a chimney to let the smoke out. The cunningly fashioned oven part beneath, flames coming out of the bottom.

We’re in the north part of the city centre, a few yards from Rochdale Road, overlooked by Skyline Central apartments and the CIS tower. Our Christmas dinner has just been cooked in a filing cabinet in a car park.

Can life get any better? No honestly, in terms of food and drink surprise and delight, can it possibly get any better?

“You see the problem was,” explains Rob. “When we got the bird into the pub we realised we couldn’t fit it inside the oven. “

“Yea,” says Will taking over, “so we were in the office talking about it. Gordo had asked for a full bird and we didn’t want to disappoint him by cutting it up and cooking it in pieces.”

Sleuth is still confused.

“But,” says Sleuth, “where did the leap of imagination come from to think, I know, we’ll cook it in a filing cabinet?”

Will again. “Rob was leaning against the cabinet and in mid-conversation looked down and said, “shall we do it in this?”” So we took it to the car park wrapped the bird in foil, put it on a metal plate and surrounded it by coal and wood and lit it. Thing is the wood we’d bought was too wet so we ended up using some pallets hanging around the yard.”

Genius. The art of cooking.

And the killer fact?

“I came down to check it after a couple of hours or so,” says Rob, “and thought bloody hell it’s cooking fast. After two and a half hours, it was done, couldn’t believe it. You’d normally need, what, seven hours minimum, to cook a 35lb bird. There was a lot going on in that filing cabinet, intense heat, moisture from the wood and the atmosphere, a lot of humidity. I think we partially steamed the turkey.”

Will pipes up again, “might start smoking our own fish in the filing cabinet next year.”

This just gets better.

Sleuth thinks that given the Angel team shoot their own game, fish for their own fish and cook turkeys in a filing cabinet (and the pheasant and partridge for that matter), they need their own TV show. All those bland programmes with the likes of Nigella and Jamie would pale very quickly beside the wonderfully visceral melange of madness that is Robert Owen-Brown’s world.

“Shame about the filing cabinet,” someone says.

“I like to think we’ve lost a filing cabinet but gained a kitchen extension,” says Rob.

The usual Sleuth column will be a pre-Christmas festival of fun on Tuesday.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

viva chris ronald...December 19th 2008.

Mr Aleef, i am surprised you guys dont have at least 3 or 4 of these signs as i though company policy was to have back ups and thats why there are always 3 tills on the go? or is there another reason why your boys play them things like pianos????? hhmmmmm....!!!

secret squirrelDecember 19th 2008.

aah foil, yes I see. Silly me forgetting my basic science that foil stops everything in the known universe..anyway must get back to painting filing cabinets with my patented lead and arsenic grey..;-)

scoteeeDecember 19th 2008.

Pleased to see the Editor removed the original @turkey shot@ that looked like a grey's autopsy!!! ha!

EditorialDecember 19th 2008.

Dear Mr Squirrel. It was wrapped in foil we believe. Also none of us have collapsed yet and it was the best Christmas meal ever. Sometimes scorn and scepticism is not necessary, just wonder and delight.

secret squirrelDecember 19th 2008.

Nice to see Gordo smiling as he's about to get stuck into a big breasted bird.....................................Erm, far be it for me to pour scorn on R.O.B's undoubted skills, but wouldn't a load of burning paint fumes from a filing cabinet be slightly dodgy for cooking?!

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